It looks like it’s now official that Warner Bros. is finally releasing their live-action adaptation of the manga/anime Akira, with Thor: Ragnarok’s Taika Waititi set to co-write and direct. The announcement via TheHollywoodReporter finally sees the first signs that this film will actually happen, as WB has been trying to get a live-action feature film based on Akira together since 2002.

They will release Akira on May 21st, 2021 and will go head-to-head with Keanu Reeves’ John Wick: Chapter 4.

Set in post-apocalyptic Tokyo, the original story revolves around a teen, Tetsuo, who discovers he has powerful telekinetic abilities that threaten the world. Once a member of a biker gang, the only person who seems to be able to stop the all-powerful and dangerous teen is his childhood friend and gang leader, Kaneda. 

Taika made some waves recently with the success of Thor: Ragnarok along with joining the team of directors working on the Disney+ Star Wars series The Mandalorian. His WWII ant-hate satire Jojo Rabbit is set for release on October 18 and currently has a supporting role in Fox’s video game action film Free Guy starring Ryan Reynolds.

Waititi had promised fans that he would avoid whitewashing the cast, something that Warner Bros. had attempted multiple times with other failed incarnations of the project. Instead, he’s talked up casting Asian kids in the lead roles to match their anime/manga counterparts, given the deep Japanese roots of the story and property.

DiscussingFilm recently stated that production could begin this July in Los Angeles, California. A start date has yet to be made official by Warner Bros., but a 2021 release date may suggest that filming might not begin until late 2019 or next year.

I’m sure Warner Bros. hopes to break the Hollywood curse of anime/manga feature film adaptation. Previously, films such as Dragonball, Avatar: The Last Airbender, Ghost In The Shell, and to some extent Alita: Battle Angel didn’t huge impacts at the domestic box office.


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